This week marked the 24th Demo Day for Y-Combinator, a company that provides seed funding for startups; the earliest stage of venture funding. Dubbed by Fast Company as “the world’s most powerful tech startup incubator,” Y-Combinator not only invests in emerging brands, but selects brands that are most likely to be massive disruptors in their industries. If a startup can snag this company’s attention, Y-Combinator will essentially fund the startup’s expenses as it gets its feet on the ground.
According to TechCrunch, this year’s Demo Day turnout was staggering, with more than 15,000 founders from 7,200 startups applying to take part. Y-Combinator chose just over 100 businesses, with founders from 22 countries, to go through its accelerator program.
After taking a brief survey of the candidates, here’s a list of brands that caught my attention, and why I think they stood out:
Origin – Keurig for Smoothies
My Take: I’ll admit, I love smoothies. For my afternoon fix, I currently can only choose between another cup of coffee, or a 15 minute stroll to an over-priced juice bar. With Origin, I’ve got a third option. This brand delivers a week’s worth of “superfood smoothie pods” to offices and promises a “no prep, no mess” blending process. Having a built-in kiosk with pre-packed pods at my disposal would be a game-changer, and I’d love to try one to see if the juice is worth the squeeze (had to).
CartCam – Shopping App for the Snapchat Generation
My Take: CartCam provides discounts to consumers in exchange for creating short video reviews. Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular for companies and agencies alike. YouTube stars are cashing in with seven figure contracts. People love discounts, and have more trust in native content than traditional. This is a clever way to turn your customers into immediate brand loyalists.
Snappr – On-Demand Professional Photographers
My Take: Having worked with and around photographers, I’ve learned that they would much rather focus on their work than spend too much time reaching out to clients and booking gigs. Clients tell Snappr their needs for a shoot, and the business matches them with a professional photographer who shows up, shoots and sends an edited gallery within 72 hours. Think Uber, but for photography. A company like Snappr could help automate a complicated process, and make it easier for artists, companies and individuals to work better together.
Zestful – Employee Outings as a Subscription
My Take: Creating a productive and entertaining culture includes throwing a fair share of activities outside the office. Zestful knows that employee engagement can increase overall efficiency, and has built a brand on letting employees vote on a series of outings, and booking the excursion for them — or, in their words, helping corporate teams “find your awesome.” If everyone at Delucchi+ wanted to go to an Indoor Trampoline Park, my vote would be a strong YES.
last but not least..
Cowlar – FitBit for Cows
My Take: Do I own a cow? No. Have I ever seen a cow? Maybe. Does this sound awesome? Yes. It was hard enough not to include Cowlar here — a collar for cows that tracks temperature, activity and other metrics — simply out of shear fun (farm joke). But besides being a funny concept, this company could be a game-changer for farmers, and as such, dairy consumers. The collar allows farmers to receive real-time updates about anything from a cow’s level of activity to an infected hoof, illness or timely pregnancy. The brand has the opportunity to build a massive business on milk cows alone, and could then move into the much larger beef cow market.
Do you have a favorite company from the list? Let me know!